6 Helpful Tips For Supporting Ageing Parents
With Australia’s ageing population, one of the greatest concerns for the country is caring for the increased proportion of Australian people who are retired or no longer capable of working.
As their parents enter their senior years, more and more adult children are taking active roles in caring for their parents. If you are facing this situation, something you need to consider is how you can best help them to manage their financial affairs – where little things can make a big difference.
1. Have An Open & Honest Discussion
Include your parent/s and other family members in order to come to an agreement what the most appropriate support system will be. Make sure that your parent/s have a secure place for storing important documents and passwords. Consider whether they have professional advisors and a safe place to keep their valuable items. Also make sure that you are aware of what financial institutions they use.
2. Consider Their Current Financial Situation
Consider the following questions in order to have a better understanding of their financial situation:
- Is their income sufficient to cover their expenses?
- Have they appropriately invested their finances to meet their ongoing needs?
- Are they receiving any government entitlements that they are eligible for?
- Is their health cover sufficient and appropriate to their needs?
3. Do They Have Their Appropriate Legal Documents In Order?
These include Will and Powers of Attorney, both financial and medical. Make sure that these documents are current and do not need to be revisited. It is important to address these important decisions while your parent/s have the mental capacity to make informed decisions, making use of professional advice where possible.
4. Find Ways To Simplify Finances
Make their finances easier for them to manage by setting up facilities ensuring bills are paid on time and checking whether they are paying extra for services that they don’t need. Also consider setting appropriate credit card limits or replacing their credit cards with debit cards. You may want to add their number to the Do Not Call Register as well in order to protect them from telemarketers.
5. Consider Aged Care Services
Are you parent/s likely to require aged care support in the near future, and if so what options are available to them? Consider how these services will impact them financially and if there is anything that can be done now in preparation. This includes learning about the available support – the government’s My Aged Care Portal is a great place to start.
6. Do They Require Financial Support?
If so, consider how can you most effectively help them without impacting any benefits that they may receive such as Centrelink benefits. Perhaps support them financially by contributing to their everyday expenses, aiding with their medical costs and care or by even giving them a financial gift.
It is important to remember that this can be a challenging time and process for your parents, who value their independence, just like us.
Visiting a financial adviser may help to guide you through this process and you on how best to restructure their finances, as well as your own, in order to meet their immediate and ongoing needs.
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